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Flying Slurpees? 7-Eleven Makes First-Ever Drone Delivery

Jul 26, 2016 03:19 AM EDT
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Convenience store chain 7-Eleven has started to deliver a Slurpee, a chicken sandwich, donuts and other items via drone.

The company has recently partnered with drone startup Flirtey to make its first commercial delivery via drone to a private residence in Reno, Nevada.

According to 7-Eleven, the delivery is the first time a customer in the U.S. has received items via drone, representing a historic milestone in both American and global commerce.

The delivery also coincided with the convenience store chain's 89th birthday, the company said.

"This delivery required special flight planning, risk analysis, and detailed flight procedures ensuring residential safety and privacy were equally integrated," Chris Walach, director of operations for the Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems (NIAS) said in a statement.

NIAS is a government-supported non-profit autonomous vehicle advocacy group that worked with Flirtey to oversee the delivery.

The package included Slurpees, a chicken sandwich, donuts, coffee and candies, and it took two drone flights to deliver all the items to the customer. When the items arrived, each container was lowered to the ground using a rope.

The delivery was done on July 11, where the drone flew autonomously from the store to the residence using the vehicle's GPS system.

"The convenience of having access to instant, 24/7 drone delivery is priceless," Michael, the Reno customer who received the drone-delivered items, said in a press release by 7-Eleven.

"It's amazing that a flying robot just delivered us food and drinks in a matter of minutes."

According to 7-Eleven, more drone deliveries are being planned with Flirtey, but did not mention a specific timeline or other regions where drone deliveries could be carried out.

This was not Flirtey's first drone delivery. In July 2015, the company picked up medical supplies from a regional airport in Virginia and flew over rough terrain before dropping the supplies to a medical clinic.

Last month, the company also completed its first ship-to-shore drone delivery.

Nevada is one of the states that granted special FAA permissions and specified drone-testing sites where companies, universities and government agencies could freely test their drone services and technologies.

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